Friday, June 25, 2010

Here we are in Hawaii!

OK so, here we are in Hawaii! We've been here for 3 weeks now. Sorry it's taken me so long to get any pictures up. Many of you have asked what it's like living here so this will be a pretty long post to catch you up (actually, it turned out REALLY long, but keep reading.....there are pictures in the 2nd half!!) (Also, toward the end the words are all underlined and blue - not sure why, not sure how to change it, sorry). It's hard to describe or explain. Living here is definitely different than just coming here for vacation. I still have all the same errands to run and chores to do as I did in Colorado, except now add unpacking, decorating and sorting through what things to keep packed up in the garage since the house is alot smaller. We do get to the beach for a little bit most days though. We are a mile from the main road that runs up the coast through town (Alii Dr.), but we're on a huge hill. So it's a mile down and then a mile back up. There are two fun beaches just down Alii. The kids like to boogie board at Magic Sands and Kahaluu is good for snorkeling and surfing (and we almost always see Sea Turtles (honu - in Hawaiian) there). We've been to some other nice beaches further north out of town, but I like the ones 5 minutes away just as much!

The weather is nice. The same almost every day. Low 80's in the day, mid 70's at night. We never close the windows and always have the fans on (you don't really need air conditioning here). The humidity isn't as bad as I had thought it would be. I've never lived anywhere humid so I didn't know what to expect. We don't have any mold or mildew problems but food gets stale quickly so you have to use tupperware to store things (especially cereal, crackers and chips. Also, sugar will cake if not in a sealed container). And you definitely can't leave laundry in the washer for very long or it will smell. (Also if you don't have your food sealed you'll get ants).

We don't have as much wildlife here as we did in Colorado. Instead of deer and squirrels we have goats and mongoose. Seriously, there are wild goats all over. They just climb around on all the lava. The first time I saw 2 of them walking down the side of the road I thought they'd escaped from someone's yard or something! I had no idea there were just wild goats around. And we also have mongoose. They were brought over to the island many years ago to kill the rats. Well, now we don't have a rat problem, instead we have a mongoose problem. They haven't been a nuisance at all, they just run around like squirrels. I have heard that they are pests when you have a vegetable garden though. Then of course there are the geckos. We have many all around our house and on the lanai (that means deck in Hawaiian). They are super cute and don't really cause any problems except that they poop on the walls and ceilings! Yep, that's right, they poop! It looks like mouse poop only a little bit bigger. It's a pain to clean up. Mostly I just use my vacuum attachment.

We have been so busy settling in and playing at local beaches that we hadn't really explored the island until this week. We spent 3 days driving south to Hawaii Volcano National Park and then up the other side of the island to Hilo and back home over Saddle Road. I'll post some pictures of our trip.

Dave's job is going well. They don't get alot of calls up there but they do have a large group of Marines up there for training for about a month and also some Army troops. He gave us a tour of the area on our way home from Hilo yesterday. I am still waiting for my Hawaii State Dental Hygiene License so I don't have a job yet. I'm hoping it will be here in another 2 weeks or so. I have interviewed at one office and have a followup interview tomorrow at noon.

We have found a church that the kids really like. We haven't visited too many but as soon as we went to this one they didn't want to go anywhere else. It's called Mokuaikuau Church and is the oldest Christian church in the state of Hawaii. The building is 190 years old!! The youth groups take a break for the summer so it's been hard for Gavin and Maici to make new friends. I signed them up for soccer but that doesn't start till school starts. But they've both been really great - they really miss all their friends at home but haven't complained a bit.

Here is some local produce that I got at the farmers market in town (about 3 miles from our house). All this only cost $14.00!! Someday soon I hope to have HOMEGROWN produce, but for now local will have to suffice. :)

On our way to Volcano we stopped at South Point. South Point is the southernmost point in the United States. There is nothing there but lava cliffs and some fishing platforms. There was a bunch of people jumping off the cliffs so Dave and the kids jumped in too. They started on the lower spots but then moved up higher and higher until they were jumping from the fishing platforms at the very top!! It was probably about 40-50 feet!

You can see how far down Dave is in this picture of Gavin jumping. He was in the air for a LONG time!!

Here is Maici jumping. She jumped from the ledge behind her and up just a little. She was the littlest one jumping!! That's my brave little Maici - no fear!

Look how clear the water is in this picture of Dave! You could see the rocks SO far down!!

Look at this tree on the way to South Point. Do you think they get a little wind down there?

Here are the kids on the edge of the crater of Kilauea. You can see the smoke billowing up from the center of the caldera in the backround. Crater Rim Road is closed on the opposite side because of all the smoke and because it has had some recent explosions that launch large, burning rocks into the air. Yikes!!

Here is the caldera at night. I didn't realize it would be glowing so much or I would have brought my tripod and gotten some better pictures. It was SO cool!!

This is the Thurston Lava Tube. Anyone can go through the first part since it is lit up inside. But to continue on you have to have flashlights - the 2nd half isn't lit AT ALL.

Here's Dave at the entrance to the unlit portion.

Gavin and Maici climbed up into a crevice on the wall. They turned their flashlights off so this picture is ONLY lit by my flash. It is so strange that the rocks appear to be glowing because with out the flashlights you can't even see your hand in front of your face! Pitch dark!! Not sure where the glow is coming from. Kinda cool.

We hiked a 4 mile loop called the"Kilauea Iki Trail". It started on the rim of the crater went down into the crater, across the crater floor, up the other side and back around the rim. It was all rainforest until you got to the crater floor. Then nothing but lava. Here Gavin is about 1/2 way down the rim and you can see to the crater floor. That faint gray line going across it is the trail.

This view is from almost the end of the hike. You go down the wall to the left of where the picture is taken, straight through the middle of the crater, up the wall on right and back around the rim. It was a gorgeous trail! There is still steam vents on the crater floor from when this part of the volcano erupted in 1959. You can see the plume from the active part way in the backround.

This is Akaka Falls. We stopped and made the short hike down to it in Hilo on our way home.

Maici did a henna on her hand all by herself. I didn't help her a bit!

And this was the sunset tonight from our lanai!

Our house is small but we're ready for guests!! We miss all of you so much so you'd better get out here soon!!